January 26, 2024
MANILA – Two sold-out shows and recyclable wristbands were not the only things that Coldplay brought over to the Philippines this past weekend.
The chart-topping band’s bassist, Guy Berryman, has a little something for those still riding on the concert high: the local launch of his menswear brand, Applied Art Forms (A/A/F).
Berryman founded A/A/F at the tail end of 2020 as a fashion label that draws inspiration from utilitarian, military, and workwear clothing. Serving also as the brand’s creative director, Berryman examines why we wear what we wear—the result is function-focused and timeless pieces.
“These are clothes for wearing every day. They won’t date and they won’t let you down.”
Here’s what Berryman had to say about A/A/F’s launch in the Philippines:
What led you to start Applied Art Forms?
“I’ve always had an interest in design and manufacturing. I studied engineering and architecture before becoming a musician and I wanted to re-engage with those disciplines. I have also been collecting vintage garments for 25 years and my archive has become a huge source of inspiration for all of the Applied Art Forms designs.”
Where do you draw inspiration from in curating the pieces for Applied Art Forms? Do your experiences in Coldplay somehow influence the creative decisions you make?
“I particularly love vintage military garments—they were designed for purpose and not for style. I regularly examine the details which are in these functional clothing pieces and re-contextualize them for my label. I like to work collaboratively—which is how we work in the band. I think there is power in collaboration, and so we really work as a team in the design studio to drive our final products.”
What makes a piece of clothing timeless and how does Applied Art Forms embody timelessness?
“If a garment is elegant and simple and made well—and is not adorned with logos and in-the-moment graphics—then I think it will stand a good chance of being worn for a long time. I particularly like the way clothes improve with age as they obtain patina and character. We always plan on how our clothes, especially outerwear, will look in the future. I have some vintage jackets which are 70 years old and they look incredible because of their age.”
“We also have garments that we tend to carry over from one season to the next. I’m not really a huge fan of the way fashion works in the world right now—when you usher in a new collection, it goes on sale for full price for a few months—then all of a sudden you start discounting and it all has to go because the next one is coming in. We like to add a bit of newness each season so we have small collections, Spring-Summer and Autumn-Winter, but a lot of the styles remain the same,” Berryman shares during the launch of Applied Art Forms in UNIVERS, One Rockwell.
“If a garment is elegant and simple and made well—and is not adorned with logos and in-the-moment graphics—then I think it will stand a good chance of being worn for a long time. I particularly like the way clothes improve with age as they obtain patina and character.”
Where did your interest in classic workwear and military clothes, and the utilitarian approach to fashion originate?
“As somebody who is interested in design in a broader sense, I am always drawn to the principle of ‘Form follows function’. Military clothing was designed for pure utility, resulting in a sense of honesty and authenticity. The same could be said about a classic 5-pocket denim jean. I am never really looking at fashion trends—only at authenticity.”
What can you tell us about the ”Love is the Drug” shirt collection?
“The Love-is-the-drug capsule originated as a graphic T-shirt two years ago as a Valentine’s Day special. It was only meant to be available for a few weeks. After the launch, we kept being asked for it from people all over the world and so we just kept printing them—we do all of our screen-printing in-house in the Amsterdam studio and this capsule still keeps the team very busy with the hand printing process!”
“I think what really helped this T-shirt was Chris, my singer, likes to wear this T-shirt a lot, so everybody sees this. He doesn’t wear it onstage but he wears it—I think everywhere else,” Berryman added during the launch of Applied Art Forms in UNIVERS, One Rockwell.
“I am never really looking at fashion trends—only at authenticity.”
What’s your favorite piece from Applied Art Forms’ overall collection?
“Our signature piece is the ‘modular parka system’—a complex coat which has removable liners and collars—the length of the coat can be adjusted depending on the season or the way you like to style it. It’s made from Ventile cotton which is a heritage British fabric that dates back to the 1940’s and was developed for the Royal Air Force. It’s a beautiful coat that can be configured in many different ways and probably the most complex piece we have made to date.”
Do you have a favorite/prescribed way of styling them?
“We have a limited color palette in our collections—so everything works well together. I only really wear our clothes and will style looks up with either a pair of sneakers or black leather shoes depending on how I feel. All the garments can be dressed up or down depending on what you are going for.”
What are your goals for Applied Art Forms this year?
“We have lots of new collections in development and we are excited to share them with the world. We are lucky to have so many supportive partners all over the world and we love to spend as much time as possible on the road and visiting everybody. We have some nice pop-ups planned and are working on collaborations with other brands which will be revealed soon.”
A/A/F can be found in Dover Street Market London, Tokyo, Singapore, and now in the Philippines
What can we Filipinos look forward to from Applied Art Forms?
“Well, I love the idea that my garments will start to be worn in the Philippines! And everybody can expect a constant arrival of new and exciting collections and collaborations!”
The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Applied Art Forms (A/A/F) can be found in UNIVERS, One Rockwell.